Whole Foods continues to take over Houston with new stores, but this will be the last opening until 2016. The latest addition is a relocation of the Woodway store (which closed as of April 3) into a shiny new place with more features. It follows several new openings over the past year, including Champions, Post Oak and Hughes Landing in The Woodlands.
Every Whole Foods has a unique character and one of the big aspects of this one is the create-your-own ramen bar. Customers will be able to step up to a kiosk and select the ingredients they prefer. An employee behind the calendar will put together the custom ramen selection. The same goes for the taco bar just down the counter.
A huge, red-tiled pizza oven cooks a New York-style pizza in a mere 45 seconds. On the other side of the store, there's a huge, round fish counter. Instead of being tucked away against a wall, as is typical, this one sits in an open area, leaving no process hidden. Scaling, filleting and the like all happens right in front of the customers.
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Humans aren't the only ones the new Whole Foods is catering to. The Voss store sports a bulk pet treats section, too. Like other products carried, there's an eye to quality and safety when it comes to the pet food. For example, there are no treats that are imported from China, where quality standards for pet food may not be as rigid as in other countries.
The store sports more than 1,300 wines as well. It's the biggest number of wines any Whole Foods in the region has carried to-date and includes a section featuring some from Texas. (This region includes Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.) They hope to grow that inventory to over 2,200 wines over time.
There's also an emphasis on gluten-free beer and cider. It's not only in the cooler and on shelves, but the in-store bar will always have some on-tap as well.
The new store opens on April 8. Whole Foods next planned move is to relocate the store at Westheimer and Wilcrest to a new store in 2015. They've purchased part of the Randall's that is currently there. An exact date will be determined as the year progresses.